The first day of football practice was a brilliantly sunny day at Montlake.
Instead of relying on Locker to ignite the action, coaches sat down with the veteran returners of each position group and appointed them that responsibility.
Appointment is one thing. Putting it into action is another.
“Jake was a great leader. He always got things started, and nobody had to look around on who was going to lead because we already knew it was going to be him,” Huskies cornerback Desmond Trufant said. “This year, at first it was, ‘Who is going to be that No. 1 leader?’ ”
Trufant said during that first day, a lot of blank stares came across the faces of his teammates. Finally, guys such as linebacker Cort Dennison, offensive tackle Senio Kelemete, defensive tackle Alameda Ta’amu, receiver Jermaine Kearse, running back Chris Polk, Trufant and fellow cornerback Quinton Richardson started to emerge in guidance roles. TNT columnist Dave Boling writes about how the Huskies past helped shaped the future.
The job now, he said, is to develop the team’s “mindset and personality.”
And a large part of that is the responsibility of the veterans, the guys who have lived through the dark days.
“We’re really mentally tough,” Sarkisian said. “That was something that took time. We inherited a group that was pretty fragile – we showed that the first year and a half. It’s not always about how physically tough you are but how mentally tough you are.”
The payoff started late last season when the Huskies won their last four games, including the Holiday Bowl.Elsewhere ...
- Todd Dybas of SportsPress NW writes about Chris Polk running over his bad reputation coming out of high school
- Scott Johnson of the Everrett Herald also writes about the Keith Price era.
- Gary Klein of the LA Times has this recap of the USC scrimmage where redshirt freshman linebacker Dion Bailey made some big plays. Imagine that, USC having another talented linebacker.
- Chris Foster of the LA Times writes about the quarterback duel between Kevin Prince and Richard Brehaut at UCLA. It seems like more of a war of attrition.
- Ken Goe of the Oregonian has a story where Lache Seastrunk's high school counselor defends Willie Lyles.
- Paul Buker of the Oregonian has a story on tight end and former Orting standout Joe Halahuni and how his life has changed since getting married and his recovery from shoulder surgery.
- Ryan Thorburn of the Boulder Daily Camera has this story on freshman wide receiver Tyler McCullough, who has caught the eye of head coach Jon Embree.
- Lya Woodraska of the Salt Lake Tribune has this story on new offensive coordinator Norm Chow trying to "fire up" the Utes offense
- Vince Grippi of the Spokesman Review writes about defensive Ian Knight and the hope he may become a viable pass rushing threat.
- Vontaze Burfict - a plethora of talent, still crazy
- Ryan Finley of the AZ Daily Star has this story on a vegetarian that's even larger than Prince Fielder.